Wild Style Wednesday Review: Talib Kweli, Quality

Talib_Kweli_Quality I remember being a Junior at La Crescent High School and learning about poetry and poetical devices from an incredible teacher named Ms. Sandy. I took an interesting re-appraisal at the music that I had been listening to previously, and I realized (with the exception of classic rock) that the Rap I had been listening to was pretty shitty to be frank. I remember at the time I had been hearing about Talib, and the things that I had heard were so positive that I had to get one of his albums. Quality is the first Kweli album I purchased, and it was a great entrance into the world of malicious metaphors, sick similes, wicked words and brazen bars. To me, Talib Kweli is easily one of the greatest emcees of all time, and I thank God this album exposed me to him.

This album sounds a little more commercially acceptable than Kweli’s excellent effort with Hi-Tek (Reflection Eternal), but that takes nothing away from this album because it’s still a classic. The album starts out with a great intro from Dave Chapelle about cruisin with Kweli “through the Mississippi Delta” which is sure to make me laugh everytime I hear it. The commercially lovable track “Get By” is nothing short of an impressive showing with Kanye’s beautiful sample of Nina Simone and Kweli rhyming ridiculously, “We sell crack to our own out the back of our homes/We smell the musk at the dusk and the crack at the dawn/We go through “Episodes 2” like “Attack of the Clones”…”, and “Ask him why some people gotta live in a trailer/Cuz like a sailor I paint a picture with the pen like Norman Mailor”. The track “Gun Music” has a beat by Megahertz with beautiful guitar riffs and Talib continuing the microphone massacre, “…bring in the fuckin’ dead bodies, go ahead bring in your boys/you’ll see the soul of black folk like W.E.B. Du Bois”. Mos Def joins Kweli on the track “Joy” as Talib navigates a narrative of what it was like when his wife gave birth to his daughter. Ayatollah provides a sentimental backdrop for Talib’s heart-felt fable which is “The Proud“. Talib recounts the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as the 9/11 tragedy spitting metaphors left and right so fast it will make your head spin.

On my favorite track, Black Thought, Kanye West and Pharoahe Monch (holy fucking lineup) join Talib on the Kanye West produced “Guerilla Monsoon Rap” to create constant carnage. All 4 of these guys leave this beat maimed, mangled and molested as they spit bars of furious fire. Kanye’s backdrop of hard hitting drums, and high pitched, perfectly placed strings is a smorgasbord for these emcees to feed off of. I can’t even post any of the rhymes because I could write verses about their verses alone.

Talib Kweli is one of the greatest lyricists on earth, and for any of you this album is a perfect introduction to his catalog (other than Reflection Eternal). I love this album, and I still listen to it on a constant basis, I don’t really need to say much other than that. This album has it all, beats that will leave you feeling amazed, and lyrics that will have you even more amazed.

9.5 Ridiculously Righteous Rhymes out of 10


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